Good News for E-Biz

E-commerce will reap the benefits of a growing U.S. population of Internet users that are increasingly more comfortable online. eMarketer predicts that one-half (over 60 million) of Net users over the age of 14 will purchase goods and services online by the end of 2002, and the figures will increase steadily. In 2001, B2C sales totaled $49.8 billion, and eMarketer projects that online sales will grow to $75 billion in 2002 and reach $155.6 billion by 2005.

The findings come from eMarketer’s The North America eCommerce: B2C and B2B Report that provides an overview of the total e-commerce picture in North America, from Web shopping behavior to B2B e-commerce activity. The report also covers online shoppers versus buyers, the factors that influence people to buy online and the demographics of those people.

“This steady growth rate we are seeing in B2C sales is the result of several factors,” says Nevin Cohen, PhD, senior analyst at eMarketer. “As the online population grows, it becomes more diverse. In addition, long-term Internet users feel more comfortable shopping online, and do so from more locations. In the next few years, there will be even more convenient ways to shop, ranging from mobile options to television-based Internet devices.”

The report claims that online sales in the fourth quarter of 2001 increased 34.4 percent over the previous quarter. By comparison, all retail sales (both online and offline) grew by a significantly smaller margin in the quarter, only 9.5 percent.

Nielsen//NetRatings found that online spending reached a high of $8.3 billion in December 2001 with nearly three-quarters of adults surfers spending their time shopping, comparing prices, or gathering product information online – a 22 percent increase from 2000’s figures.

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